David Rogers, a short track racing legend and fan favorite, passed away Sunday morning following complications associated with his battle with cancer. The Super Late Model racer from Orlando, Florida was 64 years old.
Rogers, who will always be known as a “Gentle Giant” to those who knew him, was one of the most successful Late Model drivers in Florida racing history. His resume includes multiple track championships throughout the state at track such as New Smyrna Speedway, Volusia Speedway Park and Orlando Speedworld.
Overall, Rogers won a total of six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Florida state championships, with his last coming in 2017. He also has wins in all of New Smyrna Speedway’s biggest races, including the Florida Governor’s Cup, Orange Blossom 100, Red Eye 100, Pete Orr Memorial and World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
In December, Rogers broke the record for most career starts (33) in the prestigious Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway. Prior to the race, Rogers was honored with the “Derby Dedication Award” for his unmatched dedication to the event since his first start in 1976.
Rogers went on to compete in five of the seven Super Late Model races during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway this past February, with his last race being on February 12.
Rogers was diagnosed with lymphoma during a scheduled stomach surgery in December 2018. He began treatment in February 2019 and announced in April that he was in complete remission after three treatments.
From there, Rogers began his fight to get back into a race car. He achieved his goal in November when he strapped into his famous No. 11 Super Late Model at New Smyrna Speedway for the first time since his diagnosis. One month later, he competed in his first race: the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.
During a scheduled checkup on February 26, doctors raised concerns about Rogers’ condition due to results from his bloodwork. On Saturday night, Rogers was admitted to the hospital prior to passing away Sunday morning.
Speed51 will have more in the coming days to honor the legacy of the man known as “The Gentle Giant.”
Monday morning’s episode of The Bullring on Speed51 will be dedicated to David Rogers. Tune in live for a special 7:11 a.m. ET show as we honor one of the greatest men to ever strap behind the wheel of a race car.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager
-Photo credit: Speed51photos.com